It appears Katie Smith’s nomination as State Agriculture Director will be confirmed today by the State Senate, but questions about her qualifications will remain.
Smith grew up on a farm near Platte City, got a journalism-agriculture degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and served in farm policy roles for Senators Bond and Talent as well as northwest Missouri Congressman Sam Graves. A senate committee has recommended by unanimous vote that Smith be confirmed by the full Senate.
Even Senate leader Michael Gibbons, a Republican from Kirkwood inclined to move the governor’s nominations through to passage, acknowledges problems remain in wake of the sexual harassment complaint that chased Fred Ferrell for his position as Agriculture Director. Gibbons says he expects Smith to get to the bottom of any problems that might still exist so that the department can move on to advancing Missouri’s agricultural policy.
Another question has been raised about Smith. State law calls for the Agriculture Director to be an actual farmer. Smith replies she’s engaged in her family’s farm. Governor Blunt says her work on the family farm meets that qualification. Blunt says he’s pleased she received unanimous approval from the Senate committee.